How often do you replace your cellphone? Once, or maybe twice a year? A majority of Austrian citizens replace their phones every 2-3 years. That count also applies to Americans and residents of the UK. Finns on the other hand are more likely to keep their phones for an average of 6 years. Countries like Brazil and India go beyond that measure and their residents carry around the same cellular device for as long as 8 years. That is pretty impressive. The average person has most likely never owned a cellphone for such a long period of time. But if not for a cellphone, is there any other electrical gadget you have held on to for years on end?
People are more tempted to upgrade their devices due to the fact that nearly every 6 months a new model is being released, and we all know how big the temptation for something new and spectacular can be.
If it is new, it must be better than its predecessor, the technical advances and the aesthetics – the main reasons why some of us fall for the “upgrade trap”. Consumerism has pushed us to the point of us only wanting the best; we do not rest to think about what we need, but rather what we want.
Phones aren’t meant to go to Heaven
Whilst maintaining this mindset of wanting more, the thought of what happens to the “old” appliances gets lost. Ever wondered where your old phones and other devices end up when thrown away?
Cellphones contain toxic substances such as mercury, led and zinc which seep into the earth’s soil and contaminate nearby water supplies when buried into the ground. So as sweet (or disturbing) as the idea of burying your cellular device is, it is surely not a pleasant notion for Mother Nature.
Young Kelvin Doe found a different method of how to re-use scrap materials that were initially meant for disposal. The Sierra Leone born teen started engineering at the age of ten as an after school activity. He would look for old and used items in hopes of finding a way to refurbish them. Amongst building generators and batteries for his neighborhood, the self-taught inventor has also started a radio station, which he runs under the name “DJ Focus”. Doe’s aim is to unite the youth in his town by encouraging them to talk about interesting happenings in their area.
After he and his team had won Global Minimum’s Innovative Salone 2012 at their high school the young inventor had been offered many opportunities to inspire others, one of them being the youngest visiting practitioner to have ever visited MIT.
For the future Kevin has plans of building a windmill that will provide locals in his town with some much needed electricity. He wishes to share his new found knowledge with his friends and loved ones, in hopes that it will lead to a better future for Sierra Leone.
Recycling makes the world go round
Like how young Kelvin has pursued his dream he is one to take an example of, in terms of salvaging old parts. But if you’re knowledge of manipulating electrical devices doesn’t go beyond exchanging a battery, then there are simple alternatives to how electrical gadgets can be disposed.
Some alternatives to throwing them away are handing the cellphone over to the provider, who will then dispose of them in an eco-friendly manner or in case the phone is still functioning, giving it up for charity.
Express your opinion on the over-expenditure of cellphones and how you discard your devices in the comments below!
Header Image credits: Royalty free